So in 110 days we will have gone through the ENTIRE BIBLE
Oh good tomorrow Jeremiah Chs 50 and 51 are LONG CHAPTERS
Better go take two Five Hour Energies in preparation tonight 😉
We are about halfway through Lamentations
So let’s continue our (cinnamon 😋) roll with Proverbs 18:8, “The words of a whisperer are like a delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.”
Someone who is gossiping and telling secrets
That is kind of “sarcastic” or “ironic”
We don’t know the exact way to describe this
Let’s try this....
Just like food that is so good and gets digested and becomes part of you (or how we eat such delicious food and it goes straight to our bellies 🤣)
The same thing is true of GOSSIP
The same thing is true of SECRETS
They get INSIDE of you and become PART OF YOU
Without even telling us, “You don’t want that to happen.”
The Sacred Writer basically lets us know, “You don’t want that to happen.”
We LOVE those little tidbits of secrets or gossip or news or information
Those tidbits can become part of us and CORRUPT US
SO BE ON GUARD AGAINST THEM!!
THANK YOU LORD!!
We are getting to the end of The Book of Jeremiah
As we mentioned earlier, it is the LONGEST BOOK in the entire Bible at 52 chapters (Yes yes yes Isaiah and Psalms had more chapters but they were shorter. The Book of Jeremiah is over 33,000 words long when counted in Hebrew/Greek 🧐)
We are hitting the last couple of chapters in the next two days
There are a couple of prophets left when we get to the Era of Return of the Jewish people to the Holy Land
We are pretty much concluding this WHOLE TIME PERIOD
THIS IS REALLY REMARKABLE
IT IS A BIG DEAL THAT YOU ALL HAVE PERSEVERED DURING THIS TIME OF THE PROPHETS
Remember when many of us thought that The Book of Leviticus was the hardest?
Or The Book of Numbers was tough with all the names?
Or The Book of Chronicles?
WELL HOW YOU LIKE ME NOW????? 🤪
When it comes to The Prophets we sometimes have NO IDEA about some names
When it comes to The Prophets we sometimes have NO IDEA about the context
So today we have condemnation against the Ammonites, Edomites, and Damascus
THE BIG ONE in Ch 50 is against Babylon
Part of us is like, “I DO NOT CARE!!”
A big part of us is like, “Yeah ok the PROUD ONE. Who’s the proud one? Nebuchadnezzar.”
He is going to be cast down
Jeremiah basically says, “Yeah another nation is going to come from the north.”
We know who THEY are
The Persian Empire are going to defeat Babylon and become the new world superpower
Here is Jeremiah prophesying this
We might listen to this and say, “So??”
AT THE SAME TIME…
GOD’S WORD IS IMPORTANT FOR US TO TAKE IN
When it comes to Jeremiah Ch 50 is not only is God promising, “I am going to do this so that my people can come back home.”
God is going to bring ANOTHER NATION to give justice to the Babylonians
God is going to SET HIS PEOPLE FREE AGAIN
Cyrus, the King of Persia, is going to say to the people of Israel, “You can go home now.”
Now, not all of the people of Israel will do it
Those that WANT to
Those that are ABLE to
Are going to have the opportunity to GO BACK HOME
THAT IS PART OF GOD’S JUSTICE!!!
This is going to be how God FULFILLS HIS PROMISE
“THIS EXILE TO BABYLON IS NOT FOREVER!!”
“THIS DESTRUCTION IS NOT PERMANENT!!”
“I AM GOING TO RESTORE YOU!!”
God does this after 70 years of Exile
He allows the northern kingdom of the Persian Empire to take over Babylon
That is what he is prophesying right now because GOD IS GOOD
THAT IS SO IMPORTANT FOR US!!
Hopefully in these first three chapters of Lamentations, we can hear the TRUE LAMENT
Remember that Jeremiah is THE WEEPING PROPHET (Does this sound familiar to you yet? IT HAD BETTER!!! 😉)
He is walking around the city of Jerusalem during the siege
He says, “My eyes stream with tears day and night without rest. I cannot stop crying. Because what do I see? Everywhere I turn, there are people whose lives are being destroyed. Children are being destroyed.”
Lamentations Ch 4 tomorrow is going to be BRUTAL
The picture that Jeremiah paints tomorrow is some of the most DESPERATE we have EVER READ in the ENTIRE BIBLE
Jeremiah says in Lamentations 3:12-13, 15-17, “[God] bent his bow and set me as a mark for his arrow. He drove into my heart the arrows of his quiver...He has filled me with bitterness, he has sated me with wormwood. He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes; my soul is bereft of peace, I have forgotten what happiness is…”
That sounds so much like Job, right?
That sounds like a lot of this community as we have been praying and journeying
We have this life happening around us
In this life happening around us, there can be times of INCREDIBLE PAIN
We might be in a place where we can’t remember the last time we LAUGHED OUT LOUD
THINK ABOUT THAT...
Maybe that is something that has been absent from YOUR life
When was the last time that YOU laughed freely? (If nothing else, I hope my words in green have sometimes caused you to chortle on occasion 😉)
If it’s been a long time, here you are with Jeremiah and GOD’S WORD IS SPEAKING TO YOU
Lamentations 3:18, “My soul is bereft of peace, I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, ‘Gone is my glory, and my expectation from the Lord.’”
THINK ABOUT THAT
“GONE IS MY GLORY AND MY EXPECTATION FROM THE LORD”
“I don’t expect anything from God anymore. Hope? Uh...it’s almost out the door.”
Lamentations 3:19-20, “Remember my affliction and my bitterness, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me. BUT...This I call to mind, and therefore I have hope.”
And then Jeremiah launches, in the middle of some of the WORST descriptions of a BROKEN HEART and BROKEN LIVES in this siege of Jerusalem, into this DECLARATION OF HOPE and this DECLARATION OF FAITH
AFTER ALL OF THIS!!
“My food is gravel. He made my teeth grind on gravel and made me cower in ashes…”
Lamentations 3:22, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my ‘therefore I will hope in him.’”
Fr. Mike invites you to go back and read Lamentations 3:16-33
Lamentations 3:31, “For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the sons of men.”
OUR PAIN IS NOT SOMETHING GOD WANTS!!
GOD WANTS OUR HEALING!!
GOD WANTS OUR FREEDOM!!
GOD WANTS OUR HEARTS!!
Fr. Mike asks the Lord to GIVE US ALL HOPE
ESPECIALLY IF WE HAVE FORGOTTEN WHAT HAPPINESS IS
Ask the Lord, “Help us! Help us to persevere. Help us to hope in you. Help us to trust in you. Help us to love you and to know that you are on our side and your mercies are new every morning.”
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER